An international team from The Hebrew University and the Instituto de Microelectronica de Barcelona developed metal iron-based biodegradable magnetoplasmonic nanocapsules (MAPSULES) to eradicate tumors via remote-controlled local delivery of chemotherapy at ultralow drug concentrations, while boosting drug therapeutic action and minimizing damage to surrounding tissues. The findings of this study, published in ACS Nano Journal and featured on the cover of the latest issue, demonstrated positive therapeutic effects of MAPSULES in animals carrying human breast tumors.
Prof. Ofra Benny’s laboratory at the School of Pharmacy and the Faculty of Medicine in The Hebrew University and Dr. Borja Sepulveda and his team at the Instituto de Microelectronica de Barcelona and developed MAPSULES to guide chemotherapy directly to a target area and deliver treatment at controlled release rates. This study, led by Arnon Fluksman, a PhD student in Prof. Benny’s laboratory, fabricated and evaluated MAPSULES in various cancer cell models and found MAPSULES maximized anti-cancer activity in the tumor area while reducing side effects.
Arnon Fluksman said, “With over 18 million cancer cases worldwide in 2020, scientists and medical practitioners have grappled with advancing local drug delivery methods to improve treatment outcomes. Despite the promise of overcoming chemotherapy side effects, nanotherapies have been unable to meet expectations due to the low nanoparticle concentration that ultimately reaches the solid tumor. Our unique method enables us to remotely control the molecules with the help of a magnet, deliver drugs to the precise location of the tumor and control drug release rates.”
Results also showed that laser irradiation of MAPSULES could increase therapeutic impact by generating heat locally in the tumor site. These findings introduce the first design of a full nano-scale carrier containing large doses of chemotherapeutics with a thin external metal coating, effectively delivering chemotherapy to a solid tumor site.
“Creating an ‘Iron Dome’ of sorts for cancer, MAPSULES not only kill cancerous cells, but also protect the patient from unnecessary damage to healthy tissue, thus augmenting cancer treatment outcomes,” said Prof. Ofra Benny. “With our discovery of MAPSULES’s efficacy, we can advance our solutions and offer wide range of materials that can be manipulated and activated remotely to support a wide variety of therapies for diseases beyond cancer.”